THERE’S a touch of genius in the movie version of Les Miserables, Colm Wilkinson, the original and best Jean Valjean, showing how it’s done in a glorious cameo appearance as the Bishop of Digne.
He sings the rest of the cast off the screen in a film that, while visually stunning, easily five stars, is weak on vocal delivery when it comes to Boublil and Schonberg’s demanding score - three stars maximum.
Epic in every other way, however, the movie is certainly the next best thing to the live experience; oh, and maybe the tenth anniversary DVD.
The problem is, removed from live environment, the recorded soundtrack fails to capture the same emotional depth; ironically, perhaps because it was recorded live on the set and not dubbed.
That said, it is still worth a look, all two hours 40 minutes of it. Hugh Jackman is phenomenal as Valjean, and well deserving of his Golden Globe. Sadly, as Fantine Anne Hathaway can be seen ‘acting’. Still, both she and Russell Crowe, as Javert, are better than I expected. Crowe, undoubtedly is the weakest.
Eddie Redmayne as Marius, on the other hand, is a discovery, knocking Michael Ball into a cocked hat. I just wonder if he could deliver eight shows a week.
Some simple additional linking dialogue drives the narrative naturally, tieing up the odd inconsistency of the stage version, and special mention must go to everyone’s favourite street urchin, Gavroche, played with Artful Dodger-style relish by Daniel Huttlestone.
In short, if you love the movie and haven’t seen the musical version, you’ll really be blown away by it when you do.